New Jersey divorce and child custody: What you need to know.

Child custody and child support issues are difficult. This basic information can help those going through a divorce in New Jersey navigate through these complex issues.

A divorce is never easy, but couples divorcing with children face a unique set of issues. In addition to determining how property should be split and whether or not the final determination should include an award of spousal support, couples with children must also agree on how to address child custody and child support issues.

In New Jersey, this means parents must come to an agreement about both legal and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the ability to make decisions about the education, safety, health and welfare of the child while physical custody refers to who the children will live with.

Child custody options in New Jersey

When coming to a decision, divorced and divorcing parents basically have two options: they can develop a parenting plan together or the court can decide for them. If a couple cannot come to an agreement without assistance, the court generally applies the best interest of the child standard. The New Jersey State Bar Association, an organization of legal professionals, explains that several factors are taken into considering when applying this standard. These factors can include the personal safety of the child, the needs of the child, stability of the home environment, age and number of child and the prior behavior of the parents including any instances of abuse as well as the willingness of the parents to cooperate. Depending on the age of the child, the child's wishes may also be taken into consideration.

The court will weigh these factors and determine if one parent should receive sole physical or legal custody or if a joint or shared obligation is appropriate. Generally, courts in New Jersey tend to favor a joint arrangement.

Those who are able to come up with an agreement without assistance should be sure that their plan addresses how time will be split between the parents as well as how issues regarding education, religious upbringing and health care will be handled. The New Jersey Judiciary Administrative Office of the Courts recognizes that no two people will have the same parenting style. As a result, each household will have different rules and expectations and some of the more intricate details of daily living will inevitably vary.

Legal counsel can help

Whether going through an amicable or contentious divorce, parents can benefit from the counsel of an experienced New Jersey child custody and child support attorney. This legal professional will work to preserve your parental rights while helping to address the challenges that can arise when attempting to come to an agreement.

Keywords: child custody child support divorce